SquareSoft: Generations Chapter 7
Bred/Bread to Butcher
By Dawn Wilkins
Bodies fill the fields I see...No one to play soldier now...Running back through killing fields...Bred to kill them all...Victim of what sect should be...A servant till I fall... (Disposal Heros; Metallica; Master of Puppets)
A globe of crimson liquid drained from his gloved fingers, weaving through his palms curves, and finally to reemerge with the blood on the grassy canopy. Nothing but a stain remained. Magus straightened, brushed his curtain of blue hair aside, and clenched his fist. With a war-weary sigh his red-purple eyes panned the battle scene. Well, not really a battle scene. More like a stalemate massacre. Neither side, the Avida City nor the invaders gained ground. It was a virtual blood bath. It was death. It was Armageddon.
To the left, trampling a bloody field rode Cecil on a dapple steed. Leadership material he was. He showered dust over Magus as he galloped past. When the nightstalkers and black knights threatened to destroy the citys morale his voice would stir all and his courage inspire even the most dismayed warrior. Wielding the excalibur he hacked here and there while at the same moment cry his words of encouragement.
Just then black knights breached the city warriors battle lines and strode to deal death. Panicked citizens scattered everywhere. The entire west flank was at the brink of collapse. Cecil, an eagle of perseverance, hollered for the mass to regroup and attempt a stand aside the gates. And, small wonder, it worked. The offending force was repelled. But that, of course, would only be a brief respite. The South regiment of invaders assaulted the gates with admirable efficiency (not to mention speed), and anarchy resumed.
The esper woman, Terra, discovered much need of her talents as well. Fireball after fireball exploded into the enemys ranks inflicting considerable damage. Lightning bolts accompanied ice chunks in a maddening display of ethereal consumption. Whatever magical deity existed would have fainted form the massive usage. The dull grey sky itself shattered into this awesome array of devastating arcane energy.
Nor did she limit herself to the black spectrum of magic. Many a curative word did she utter to revive the wounded. Those words were echoed by incalculable voices as others weaved their healing spells simultaneously. With all the savagery afoot healers were a rare commodity. There simply werent enough to go around. Magus briefly thought how one of those silly, ivory-robed priests would aid him now, wounded as he was. But he would have to do without.
Ben the Great didnt keep idle, either. At first mysterious wizard had amused himself by immersing the invaders with what he called puke nuke. It was a special insult of the gravest nature to spit at your enemies here in this strange world Magus observed. Hundreds of catapults twanged, flinging their contents, an odd assortment of body parts, rocks, and god-knew-what-else to intercept attackers. Bens saliva (or spittle) christened each bundle before adding to the carnage.
However, now that the strife exhibited fierceness and doom became more pronounced his true colors emerged. And what a matrix of colors it was! Spellbinding lightning snapped from the skies slamming his opponents to the bloody cobblestones. Gigantic cylinders of flame shot from his palms to decimate everything in its aim of fire. Even the ground trembled in sympathy to the quakes that became normality.
Indeed, Magus held witness to inconceivable destruction that was theater before his eyes. A normal man would be racked in horror at such carnage, (threatening their bowel composure) the distress so great courage would never entered their minds. A normal man would flee.
But Magus was hardly someone you define as normal.
Raised as a warrior, where survival of the fittest is law, Magus could not find himself moved by the suffering. As a child tended by the mystic, he had erected an emotional barrier lest he fall prey to his caretakers torment. Used as a tool of destruction. He was bred to butcher. Bred to butcher his foes. To slice the lives of human existence like freshly baked bread. And with as much compassion. Even now his subconscious screamed for murder. Magus could almost smell the metallic scent of recently spilt blood...
Moment blurred the time and a heavily armored warrior collapsed at the wizards feet. Magus breathed softly. The knight had been hacked in a most brutal fashion. Strips of flesh and mangled organs slugged sickeningly as Magus sank to one knee that quickly crimsoned. Thomas might have been dreamt up from his nightmares. Thomas? What happened?!
...(gasp!)...Yes...Me...Theres...trouble... A faint moan escaped his lips. ...must... His voice was rusted steel scraping against depreciate bricks. To hear, Magus bent his ear to the dying mans lips. Apparently he had something significant to declare. And somehow Magus knew it would be about as pleasant as the holocaust around him.
Yes! Yes! Warn whom? Of what?!
...(gag!)...The enemy...they come! Blood vomited from his lips to spew on Magus.
...(cough!)...There!...The end comes... Thomas sputtered, gesturing southward. His eyes glazed over in a luster of death. Magus could feel the life ebb from the knights body as limbs drooped, head lolled, breath stilled. Slowly, devoid of human emotion, the wizard lowered the forever muffled form. With two fingers he shut the eyes of Thomas, whom shall eternally sleep. Of course, this did not move Magus. Little could reach his heart; a heart that knew so much pain it was desensitized.
Such was Magus.
His agony became consigned away gradually eroding his sanity and his ability to absorb feelings. Almost as if there existed a darkness in him so immense that the light of compassion could never enter. But why would a silent require these trifle entities of love while his sole purpose focused on inflicting murder? Bred to butcher.
Climbing to his feet the wizards gaze deciphered the crisis headed for him. Hundredsno, thousandsof unspeakable vile creatures awoken from a domain they should not have been marched systematically. At him. At them. At them all. And he alone stood between the lives of many and the hate of many more. The sorcerer stepped over Thomas corpse to face what could be called walking death. It was as if Thomas had never been. Step after step the wizard made driven by an inextricable need to dispatch his opponents. The blood lust. Dull morning light flashed on his murderous. Here was the moment for which he was bequeathed breath.
Not to perceive. Not to express. Not to produce. But to butcher.
Magus halted some scant yards from the approaching adversaries. Axe-wielding armored men rode horses, only black, wore cloaks, only black, and glared looks (you guessed it), only black. Behind them darted the wordless nightstalkers, indistinguishable from the shadows that eclipsed them. Finally came the enormous slimes of viscous black goo. They did not halt. He was alone. Against a massive army.
Kill or be killed. A truer saying was never uttered.
Tediously, the sorcerer raised his hands. And as he did so words of the arcane art spilled from his lips. Zora, xier, xieus, xiear,...pour forth the blackness of my heart, take essence of the corporal existence to utterly obliterate... Now his hands faced heavenward, each syllable empowered by his invigorated voice. Suddenly his palms whirled in and hellward, as pure, colorless light flared down. Then his voice shattered to a scream.
Obsidian Oblivion of Obliteration!
A massive wave of the ebony energy erupted from hell to submerge his antagonists. It melted into their bodies, merged with them, and disintegrated them. For the beasts unfortunate enough to survive that assault another abyss awaited them. Electricity, as red as Thomas liberated blood, expanded into their numbers annihilating nearly everything. As for survivors of that, who happened to be beyond the magics radius, their bodies were racked from incomprehensible pain.
That made them angry. VERY ANGRY.
Blackness swam up to meet Magus vision. Again he staggered to a knee. Only this time he feared it would be to greet his own demise. The remnant of the forces were regrouping, presumably to finish off this menace. The menace meaning him, of course. Soon would come the end. The vast silence and unrelenting darkness would come. As he knew it would and was prepared for. It could occur any moment now...
His vision returned. It fragmented into grey points of light that shaded that vision but at least he could distinguish between shapes. Exhaustion and agony plagued his body as his wound throbbed in heartbeat. Before him stood three immensely relieved individuals: Cecil, Terra, and, Ben. Greenish hair fluttered in the brezze from Terras ponytail. Cecil bent forward to examine him, a sliver of grey streak penetrating his hairs to play on Maguss face. Ben gripped his arms to help him stand. Dizziness washed over the wizard and he had to shake his head to clear his sight completely. The esper girl tended his injury.
Ben glanced over at the gory, nuked mess. He rolled his eyes and muttered sarcastically, Could you have been any more brutal about it? Then he added, But the duty is done, at least. Viewing the carnage would aid Magus none, bloodlust pumping in his veins, so he just pointed to the man on the ground. Dead Thomas.
Tears streamed Bens face. Oh, god Thomas. Did it have to come to this? What will Veronica say? Shadows danced in his eyes adding to the somber mood. Looking up at the three he whispered, voice full of new purpose, It is time we ended the suffering. It is time we find the sword and destroy Tarus.
Terra patted him on the shoulder. Cecil gave him a sympathetic smile. To analyze the situation Magus concluded Thomas must have meant something to Ben. It reminded him painfully of his lost love ones, never to be restored. But why did Thomas mean so much to Ben?
Hes my son. And now I must go to make preparations. Excuse me.
The trio exchanged glances as white-donned clerics lifted Thomas and bore him away. Ben immediately exited, face dark and heart heavy. Terra and the paladin strode away, plausibly to rest and permit their souls to expel the unpleasantness of slaughter. For Magus all he could do was stare emotionlessly at the blood that streaked to a stain. On the ground, on the bodies, on him. Another blood stain on his soul.
Would he ever be free of it?
Magus straightened over his satin sheets, listening intently. But he didnt hear the voice again. His stomach bunched unappealingly. His lips emitted feeble breaths. His heart slammed against his ribs. He knew that voice, knew it as well as his ownmaybe even more.
And yet, he hadnt heard those sweet words from that sweet voice in over two decades.
The beloved sister he would sacrifice his life for..sacrifice everything! In some ways he hated her; resented how with a mere thought her he could become so emotional vulnerable. When Lavos had separated the two, brother and sister, Magus had made a sacred vow hed extract vengeance on the beast. But foremost on his mind was their reunion, something Magus had waited his entire miserable existence for.
He darted off his gold-rimmed bed, shoved his boots on, and tossed his cape over his shoulders. All his weapons returned to their customary places without thought. All that mattered was to see his sister again. As he flung open the door and raced up the deteriorated steps memories flashed in his minds eye. Up and up he ran, as if possessed by some demon of another realm. The garden. Thats were the words drifted from! May darkness itself stand before him and he would not yield. And the memories cascaded over his eyes and he relived...
He could see her clearly, an angel of immaculateness surrounded by evil so prominent it only enhanced her purity. A single hand, a single word was all he saw and heard. The fingers reached to him. Her sky-emulating eyes, glistening with tears, spoke a lifetime of love...and a lifetime of loss. He melted into the darkness, her shining eyes the last image to grace his vision. And then she was gone. Forever.
Passing the gate, Magus eyes feasted on a sight that was both awe-inspiringly beautiful and awe-inspiringly hideous. It was a garden like no other. Far and wide expanded vegetation of all sorts. There were delicate aspen trees that stirred in the breeze. There were a wild variety of precious flowers, reds, purples, and pinks. There were statues of powerful goddesses, encompassed by adoring warriors that would combat for her cause. But this area also contained grotesque bodies, writhed limbs, and god knew what else. A shard of glass lay here, a piece of iron there, and everywhere blood oozed or rusted. The clerics could be forgiven for neglecting to remove the debris, mainly bodieseveryone was drained.
Guardedly, the sorcerer weaved about these structure, nights shadows caressing him. He beheld one especially stunning figure of a gowned woman with expansive hair and robes spewing water and being hoisted up to the heavens by a trio of warriors. Glamorous it was, however, spoiled b the pinkish tint to the water. Blood, he noted.
A flash and action and Magus spun, blue strands vibrating like a waterfall. A silhouetted figure darted by an aspen tree. Schala?
SCHALA!! His feet could not carry him fast enough to her. Just as he was a scant few feet away she bolted again. A spirited doe she was, with as much as spirit as evasiveness. Magus pursued her, determined not to lose her this time, his boots thundering on the pavement.
Schala, its me! Your brother, Janus! It drove the wizard nearly wild that she should be fleeing him. Oh, spiteful gods, did it always have to end this way? Just another irony in his life full of fateful twists. Just his luckBASH!
Magus could feel himself whirling to the cobblestones. He landed with a harsh bang to this head. Stars of light flickered in his eyes. Beside him was a branch of a human anatomy. Actually, it was a head. A very bloody head.
A shadow lurked behind him. Primal instincts seized control and he drew his deadly dagger. He would struggle with his last dying breath if need be. He would not lose her again. As he plunged the knife into his attacker a hand snatched his wrist and he involuntarily released the dagger. Blood gushed out to spatter him. A second hand grabbed his other and soon he was forced up to his knees. Grappling produced no favorable results.
My arent we spirited? The words seemed to come from an abyss and it froze the blood in Magus veins. Maybe he would become a prisoner after all. The humanoid being that stood before him appeared to chuckle. Then a hand passed over Magus head. He recognized magical words. Sleeping vapors traveled down his lungs and though he held his breath desperately it was in vain. Damn, what the hell was going on?
Much like earlier in the day darkness absorbed his vision to sable. He could feel consciousness slip from his fingers. Schala,... He whispered before the blackness tore her from him again.